50 Under 50 The Next Most Collectible Artists

Art + Auction
June 1, 2013

Who among the younger generations will have the staying power to rule the market over the long haul?

Last year we set out on what some might call a fool's errand by selecting the 50 most collectible living artists. Hoping to elevate this sort of list-making beyond a parlor game, we defined the parameters and embarked on research to find those artists who have a proven record in the market and also show promise of the continuing innovation and devotion to craft that will warrant attention for decades to come. The result was a list that peered beyond the headlines.

 A year is no time at all in the long game that is serious collecting. For this second outing we decided to add to the challenge by focusing on artists under the age of 50. For such a group, auction stats can be erratic, and artists may just be adding a major museum solo to their exhibition history.

But what follows is not an "emerging" artist list in the style of many art magazines, naming favorites from the latest MFA graduating class. Most names will be familiar to readers from years of gallery shows and even awards. The vast majority among the final selections are in their 30s, because the reality is that artists are still coming into their practice through their 20s, and only after that begin to build a committed collector base. Readers will also note the preponderance of painters. In the discussions during which we hashed out the list, two reasons for this emerged. First, there is a genuine resurgence of nonrepresentational painting as artists under 50 reexamine that key modernist pursuit. Second, collectors perennially favor painting because it is understandable within an established tradition and is comparably easy to display and conserve.

Diversity is the other big trend seen in this list, in terms of geopgraphy as well as in the individual artists' practices. The language of contemporary art is global, and collectors are increasingly interest in seeing differences in dialogue. Today artists may be born in the Middle East, live in Europe, and sell to collectors in Asia and America, and our list reflects that ubiquitous internationalism. Just as pervasive, it seems, is the desire among artists to operate free of the constraints of medium. Even as recent years have seen a return to a focus on craft and the object and, sometimes, beauty, it seems that the ultimute triumph of Conceptualism has come in the form of younger generations who embrace the artist's role as the universal creator. Photographers sculpt, sculptors bridge the divide between two and three dimensions, and painters make films. Innovation is everywhere. --The Editors

Rosy Keyser
Keyser's rough-hewn, large-scale panels in a rusted palette grapple with the legacy of Abstract Expressionism in an almost literal sense -- labor is intimated on every surface. According to Renée Albada Jelgersma of the Peter Blum Gallery, in New York, where Keyser recently had her fourth solo show, the artist is interested in "the idea that energry can be changed but never disappears completely." Instead, it skips from canvas to canvas, transmitting a rhythm like a song or a poem. Newer, shaped canvases like Mnemonic Land Device (For Blind Willie McTell), 2013, incorporating egg cartons, broomstick brush, corrugated metal, and wire, recall Rauschenberg's "Combines," but this hillbilly materials belie a rigorous internal logic. Prices range from $45,000 to $75,000, but they're not likely to stay at that level for long: She has found fans in Poju and Anita Zabludowicz and Stuart and Maxine Frankel, and she is included in "Painter Painter" at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, on view through Octopber. --SPH